To everyone who helped us out with my pre-wedding post, MANY THANKS!
The wedding turned out wonderfully, thanks in part to your help. As my Lovely Tasting Assistant (LTA) were determined to combine traditions from each of our Jewish and Chinese heritages, we settled on a 10 course wedding banquet at Mission 261.
We ended up serving about 46 people It was our extremely strong desire not to invite anyone out of obligation. We strictly invited only people who we very much liked are were (or had been) close to us. In the end we had a wonderfully intimate but sincere wedding, with spontaneous toasts from several people in the crowd. We were married by a friend I have known for 10 years, and even had a friend write and perform a song for us (we specifially told people not to bring gifts, but sadlty most people ignored this request).
Appetizer: 10 pounds Langer's pastrami with 2 loaves rye and 1 loaf challah, pre sliced and halved-- $200
Mission 261 banquet menu:
Barbecued Combination Platter with Suckling Pig
Deep fried crispy shrimp balls
Stir fried scallop and chicken with vegetables
Braised shredded abalone, sea cucumber, shark's fin and fish may in soup
Braised sea cucumber with Bailing mushroom in abalone sauce
House special roasted chicken
Baked dungeness crab with ginger and scallion
Stir fried mixed vegetables
ried rice with diced meat and shrimp
Red bean and lotus seed soup
About $500 x 5 tables (with tax and 17% gratuity included
15 bottles of house red and white @ $16 per bottle. We brought the champagne - seven $5 bottles of barefoot bubbly from Trader Joe's (no corkage, as it the custom in chinese restaurants)
Wedding cake from Van's Bakery in San Gabriel: 2 tiers, serves 60 people (with massive amounts left over) - top tier strawberry, bottom tier coconut, decorated with fresh roses and orchids. $160 delivered.
We bought a 5 lb. custom baked challah from my favorite bakery on Fairfax, the Diamond Bakery. $20-- Everyone raved about the challah.
We had read about discounts from other managers, but the managers I had read about no longer worked there. Our banquet manager, Robert, told us this was because there had been problems with bribes for unauthorized discounts. Robert was an affable, funny guy but I always got the impression that he was a salesman, not always being entirely truthful. In the end however, he came through, all was delivered as promised We also had free use of big screen TV, CD and DVD player (we played a 2 minute musical presentation of our food travels in Asia. Ceremony and pastrami were in the beautiful wineyard, then we moved into a very elegant room for the banquet.
Sadly due to nerves and talking with everyone, I was unable to eat very much of the food, but for the few courses I did manage a bite or two of were tasty-- the crispy shrimp balls were wonderful. The barbecued meat and suckling pig platter were great (there was jellyfish too-- I specifically made a request to Robert not to dumb down the menu for white people's tastes, because I felt I had to live my chowhoundly duties-- I fully realized that this could very well be the only time in their lives that some of these people would be eating real chinese food). Hence the chicken head delivered on the platter, which my sister the recently converted former vegetarian of 15 years kissed on the beak for a photo op. The soup was thick like a potage with a very bland flavor that I did not care for. Most of my friends raved about the food. My LTA's mom (who is Taiwanese) liked the banquet well enough, but felt it was too expensive-- she said that in Taiwan you could get this same food of better quality for $200 per table of 10 (but Taiwan is generally less expensive than the US anyway... that is, except for the prices at Din Tai Fung)
Total bill in the end was about $3100 (pastrami included)-- a bargain for what we got in my opinion, in an elegant setting with great service and mounds upon mounds of leftovers. (about 1/2 the wedding cake, 5 pounds of pastrami and 3/4 of the sliced bread... not to mention about 20 plastic take home boxes distributed among the guests). About 90% of the ceremonial challah was left too, and people were diving in to take home big chunks of it to make pastrami sandwiches with.
So there you have it-- our wedding (food-wise) in a nutshell.
Thanks again for your input